Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

What Stores and Magazines Don't Want You to Know about Organizing and Simplicity

Simplicity and Organizing

The checkout lines are full of them this time of year: magazines telling us how to sort, store and simplify our stuff.  Stores fill their seasonal sections with baskets and bins and drawer organizers.  Everywhere we go, someone is trying to sell us on the next product to cut clutter and organize our lives.  But friends, it's a lie.

Here are the things magazines and stores won't tell you this time of year:

You can't organize clutter.  We've all done this: organized a junk drawer or cabinet with bins and hooks and labels only to find it a mess again a few weeks later.  This is because no matter how many labels and bins you use, you cannot organize clutter.  This brings me to point #2....

The answer isn't more baskets, its less stuff.  In fact, if you start decluttering and minimizing, you will get to a point in your journey of less that you start giving away baskets, bins, and totes! 

The magazines and stores want you on an endless cycle of buying and organizing. Corporations aren't in the contentment industry.  They don't spend millions of dollars on advertising so that you can have just enough and be content with what you have.  They want to sell you too much and then sell you an endless supply of storage solutions.  They want you discontent and believing you need the next new item to calm the chaos in your life.  In fact, they build you up all year for a big organizing spree in January.  It's an endless cycle of trends and must-haves only to appeal to your hearts' longing for simplicity and fresh starts in January when we are all at our most overwhelmed. 

Friend, the Point is this: Simplicity cannot be bought at a store.  Bins and totes and drawer organizers aren't bad things.  They can be useful. But this thinking that we can buy our way into contentment is what got us buried in too much stuff in the first place.  There is a famous Einstein quote that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. In other words, nothing changes if nothing changes.

What is the answer?  I believe that the answer is to break the hold that stuff has on us by radically reducing the amount that we own.  I believe that when we strip away the clutter we create room for people and life and serenity.   I believe that choosing contentment in the face of all the world wants to sell us is a brave and revolutionary act of self care.  Call it minimalism if you want.  But it isn't really about how much you own, it's about fighting back against our broken attachments that so easily allows stuff to own us

You were not made to spend your life organizing and reorganizing.  And life is far too precious to spend it cleaning, sorting and storing stuff we don't need.  Let's clear out the stuff to make room for authentic relationships and refreshing spaces. Let's stop believing the lie that peace and order is a card swipe away.  It isn't. 

Let's start a revolution of contentment and enough.  

What about you?  In what part of your life have you fallen into the cycle of organizing and reorganizing, again and again?  (We've all been there!) Let me know in the comment section below.

p.s. Like this post?  Sign up for my weekly newsletter, follow me on twitter or connect with me on facebook.


  1. The more cluttered my mind is the farther behind I get in my bills. The farther behind I get in my bills, the more careless I get with my money. The more careless I get...the more anxiety, which leads to depression...hence a cluttered mind and around I go again.

  2. 3 years ago, I and my husband abandoned out mold-ridden house and purchased a mobile home and put it on our property. In preparing for that, I estimate that we got rid of 75% of our "stuff." I happened upon Marie Condo's book and it was a lifesaver! I still have many things, as I cook from scratch, make all of our bread, love to sew, spin and weave, garden and can... but it is all under "perfect" control. I love it like this.